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The Spelman spotlight. (Atlanta , Georgia) 1957-1980, March 12, 1980, Image 3

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rllt! * d « J V * tf » Blacks and the 1980 Census Spelman Spotlight March 28. 1980 Page? Stand Up and Be Counted By John Valentine Reprinted With Permission From THE SKANNER Newspaper, Portland, Oregon, March 28. 1979 Though the year is still 1979, it is time to start thinking about the 1980 census. It’s time for all Americans, especially Blacks, to make 1980 the year to stand up and be counted. Why, you ask, is it so important for Blacks to be correctly counted in the 1980 census? Being counted won’t put any money in my pocket you may say, so why should I bother to be counted? The truth of the matter is not only can money be put in your pocket simply by standing up and , being counted in 1980, but a good deal of money stands to be taken out of your pocket if you choose to hide in the closet when the census taker comes around. Here are some of the reasons the 1980 census is so important to Blacks and other minorities: (1) The number of people counted in the census who are. unemployed or with low incomes determines whether your com munity qualifies to receive federal monies under the Public Works and Economic Develop ment Act. (2) The number of people unemployed and the number of adults in families with annual in come below the low income level determines how much money goes to your community under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA). (3) The number of people living in a house or apartment shows whether or not that housing unit is overcrowded. The number of overcrowded housing units determines how much money your community will get under the Housing and Com munity Development Act. Census data also show the number of housing units with no hot water or incomplete plumbing. (4) The number of children five to 17 years of age living in poor families determines how much money your county will get under the Elementary and Secon dary Education Act. (5) Population totals are used in determining how many people might benefit from the con struction and modernization of medical facilities .to be built un der the National Planning and Resources Development Act. These same figures are used to determine a community’s need for funds under the Public Health Services Act; (6) The number of people 16 years old and over who have completed less than six years of schooling determines the amount of funds allotted to each state un der the Adult Basic Education Act. (7) The number of people over 60 help to determine how much money your community can get for senior citizen community cen ters under the Older Americans Act. This same act provides funds for nutrition programs for the elderly. (8) If your community needs legal services, environmental ac tion, emergency food and medical services, and all other facilities provided through com munity action programs, the amount of money your com munity receives for these programs under the Headstart. Economic Opportunity, and Community Partnership Acts is determined by the number of public assistance participants, the number of unemployed, and the number of related children under 18 living in families with in comes below the poverty level. As you can see, being counted in the 1980 census means a lot not only to you, but to your friends. There are four of us. The rest is none of your business.” neighbors, and relatives whose income and government assistan ce depend on an accurate census count. The Bureau of Census puts the 1970 census undercount at 2.5 percent or 5,301.000 people. The undercount for whites was only 1.9 percent or roughly 3,446.000. while the undercount for Blacks was 1,873.000. nearly four times greater the percentage for whites. After having talked with of ficials in the Bureau of Census, I am convinced that the reason Black Americans were not as ac curately counted as white Americans is because Blacks did not make a great effort to be counted. ~ It’s a fact that many Blacks a deeply ingrained distrust f white people, especially white people with pencils. In most cases. Blacks’ distrust of census takers can be attributed to fears that the information they give out can be used to affect welfare assistance. Welfare regulations no longer force poor families to split up or pretend to split up in order to qualify for Aid to Families with Dependent Children, so the fear of census in formation affecting welfare assistance is unfounded. Census takers are subject to a strict code of confidentiality and there is no need to fear that the finance company will find out where you live. For too long, we have refused to vote, refused to get involved, and hidden in the closet when the census taker came around. It’s time for every Black American to say, “I am somebody. I exist. I will stand up and be counted.” 1980 — An Important Year for Blacks The year 1980 will be an vices for our communities. Every especially important year for household will be requested to fill Black people in the United . .. , non c „ r , out the 1980 census form com itates. In November, we will help , , , , , . mi * , ’ . . . r pletely and accurately. This will elect a national administration.. ,. .. . „ .. .... .... be a highly productive ra- Earher, in April, we will have an . , . .. , . , vestment of the relatively small opportunity to stand up and be counted in the National Cen sus—our first opportunity since 1970. Population totals from the 1980 census will provide the basis for a reapportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as in state legislatures and local election districts. Population and housing figures from the 1980 census will be used to allocate billions of dollars an nually in federal, state and local program funds for education, health, recreation, public safety, economic development and other programs that can benefit our families, our neighbors and our communities. It is the constitutional right of everyone of us to be counted in this important census, to be in cluded in the statistics that will be used to determine people’s needs, and to plan governmental ser- amount of time required to fill out the form. The Bureau of the Census guarantees that your in formation will be used only for official statistical purposes. By law, no other agencies—Internal Revenue, welfare, police, im migration, landlord, etc. can have access to your personal in formation. For many years there were those of us who felt there were deliberate attempts to un dercount Black people. This year let’s ensure that we do everything to see that this does not happen again. For further information call your nearest U.S. Bureau of the Census regional office. They will be able to put you in touch with a local census community service’s specialist who will be happy to arrange a census meeting with your local chapter. Were counting on you. Answer the census. CENSUS'80 Blacks Have Chance to be Counted April 1, 1980 will be one of the most important dates of the 1980s for the Black community. A pril l is Census Day. On this day, we will have our first opportunity since 1970 to be counted officially as members of the United States society. I strongly encourage every chapter member to participate fully in the 1980 Census. I urge each chapter to help educate the Black com munity on the importance of the 1980 Census. There is too much at stake for us to be overlooked or not coun ted in this census. The distribution of Federal funds and political representation is often based on census data. Census figures are used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of . l, . r.' Representatives, and-most states use the same data for redistric ting their legislatures. It is important for us to realize that the Federal government distributes more than $50 billion annually based in part on what the census says about the population and housing of an area. Additional billions in state and local funds are also depen dent upon census data for proper distribution. When our people are missed in the Census, it means they remain invisible for a decade, and in visible people don’t count when it comes time to distribute our tax dollars back to local governments and to gain political represen tation. We hurt ourselves when we are not counted. The Black community will get short changed if we are not properly counted. An accurate count of Black Americans will mean funds for jobs, job training, hospitals, schools, low-cost housing, CETA. revenue sharing, and many other services so desperately needed in our local communities. The Census Bureau is making a valiant effort to obtain an ac curate count of the Black com munity. However, these efforts will not be successful unless they receive cooperation from all of us. Signed, The Ladies of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. (National Headquarters)